I arrived home one afternoon to find a huge truck parked outside and several workmen carrying the contents of my house and putting them inside this large removal vehicle. No matter how much I shouted and screamed and tried to stop them; they ignored me and continued removing all the nice expensive things from my home. One by one, I watched the things that had made me proud and the envy of my neighbours, slowly disappearing. I felt as though I was in the middle of a bad dream and couldn’t waken up.
When I walked into my almost empty house in terrible shock, I heard a noise outside and looking through the open doorway I saw my car being removed from my drive way. It was a nightmare. I could have gone next door, or across the road to the neighbours who were at home all day but I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction. In the past, they’d criticised me and my lifestyle, and on many occasions jealousy had reared its ugly head and they’d been insulting to me. I saw the twitching curtains and knew they were watching. It would probably be the neighbourhood topic for the next few weeks.
Phoning my parents was completely out of the question; they’d almost disowned me by now. I was a disappointment and a failure in their eyes so I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of saying ‘I told you so’. I stayed in my empty house, perched on a window ledge and watched the pattern my tears formed on its painted surface.
My husband Fanie arrived home half an hour later and found me sitting on the floor crying. I saw shock and horror on his face when I told him the story and thought there’d been some confusion and he was upset for me. Not a chance! He jumped around, stamped his feet and howled with rage something about how they’d promised him more time to pay.
Basically what it all boiled down to was Fanie was (probably still is) a compulsive gambler and this time he’d gone too far. People talk about losing their shirts – my husband had just lost the house and its contents, my car, and a couple of time share holiday places we’d owned. Fanie always did things in the extreme. With him it was constantly feast or famine.
I’d spent more than six years married to this man who couldn’t resist betting on anything and everything. When he won, life was at its best and when he lost it was everyone else’s fault, not his. He won and lost a lot of things – not just money but businesses, houses, cars, and boats, plus airplane tickets, and holidays. Life was a laugh – one big adventure. He was used to it because he’d always lived that way. He fancied his luck over any odds and it resulted in a lot of curious escapades.
Being raised in a steady, normal, predictable and middle class boring household I was fascinated by this different way of life. It was exciting and it drew me into its storybook journey. It was almost like being at the fairground – always something different. So, while my Parents raised their hands in horror and avoided their neighbours in shame; I got married to a man who was the exact opposite of what they had expected.
Of course, there were hard times when Fanie lost everything and came crying to me like a spoiled little boy. I quickly discovered that if I showed him lots of sympathy and reassurance, he brightened up quite quickly and began to rebuild. But if I blamed him and told him off for being such a careless idiot with our lives, he would turn into a raging bully and hit me.
So the years went by and slowly it dawned on me that as long as Fanie kept on gambling, we could never settle down and raise a family. After a while this haunted me because I wanted children. I stopped going with Fanie on his sprees, thinking that after a while he’d miss me so much that he’d stop his nonsense and find a proper job. I was so wrong; gambling was his proper job as far as he was concerned.
I went to see Divorce Attorneys. It would take a while to get over him but I decided that I was young enough to do that and I had to break ties with Fanie and his rollercoaster life. I needed to find an everyday man with a good steady job, have lots of kids and a normal, predictable life.
Martin Vermaak Attorneys launched my divorce action and after Fanie had been served by the Sheriff with the Combined Summons and Particulars of Claim, he became so contrite about the pain he’d caused me and was so loving and considerate towards me that I withdrew my action. The Divorce Attorneys were very understanding – I got the idea that this sort of thing often happens.
It only took a couple of months and Fanie lost the nightclub we owned and a boat – we were married In Community of Property – so his losses were my losses. Despite the fact that a few days after that he won a racehorse; I was reminded of the fact that he was never going to change.
Back I went to the Divorce Specialists at Martin Vermaak Attorneys. The divorce action was re-launched and several weeks later Fanie wept openly before me at the thought of losing me. Like a fool I capitulated: called the Divorce Attorneys and stopped the divorce.
Months went by and so did a couple of 4 x 4s and a country cottage we had owned. Resentment entered my life about the same time as a massage parlour and a fast food stall that was steeped in debt. Although Fanie had since pulled us out of that one and brought us back into the good life again, I could see Motherhood slipping away from me and the empty house and loss of my car just made things so much worse.
By the end of the day, Fanie had booked us into the penthouse suite of a good hotel and went out to test the ‘lucky streak’ he felt ‘coming on’. Give him his due, that same afternoon he’d somehow come up with enough cash for me to buy myself some really good quality clothes and cosmetics, perfume and a few other essentials.
The lucky streak paid off and a few weeks later we were in another house in another neighbourhood. In the garage, getting into the car Fanie had produced for my use, I noticed a large crate that I hadn’t seen before. Curiosity got the better of me and before I knew it, I found a tyre iron and prised the lid off. The crate was full of weapons of war – automatic rifles and firearms of all kinds. I said nothing and went off to get my hair done.
A few days later, I checked and saw that many of the crate’s contents were missing and Fanie was a bag of nerves. He wasn’t sleeping; he was biting his finger nails and popping all manner of pills for his headaches and stress he told me. He was up strange things – even for him – and I knew something bad was going down. Not even another week went by when, around mid morning one day, he phoned me from a Police Station saying he’d been arrested and I should make a call to the Attorneys.
I made that call to the Attorneys but not the one he wanted me to make. I phoned the Divorce Attorneys at Martin Vermaak Attorneys and this time, I really got divorced.